2012 NFL Draft: Why the Tennessee Titans Must Draft a Safety in the First Round

Marlon MaloneyCorrespondent IFebruary 24, 2012

OXFORD, MS - OCTOBER 15:  Defensive back Mark Barron #4 of the Alabama Crimson Tide lines up against Mississippi on October 15, 2011 at Vaught- Hemingway Stadium in Oxford, Mississippi. (Photo by Butch Dill/Getty Images)
Butch Dill/Getty Images

A lot is being made of the mass exodus of Tennessee Titans' secondary players to the free-agent market. However, most of that attention has been focused on likely departing cornerback Cortland Finnegan.

Also hitting the market this offseason are safeties Michael Griffin, Jordan Babineaux and Chris Hope.

Babineaux proved to be a valuable acquisition, taking a stranglehold of the starting strong safety position from Hope and making several big plays. The Titans appear close to re-signing the safety as soon as the league's free-agency period starts on March 13.

Not much news has been made of how the Titans fill the vacancy left by Griffin's departure. Griffin has proven to be a very inconsistent option at safety. He is an overrated player who is only a good player when things around him are as well. He consistently takes terrible angles and overpursues on play-action passes and pump fakes.

Despite all that, the Titans will be hard-pressed to find someone better. The NFL is officially gone pass-happy, placing a heavy emphasis on defenses to be able to cover several receiving threats. As a result, more and more teams are seeking safeties that can cover and are interchangeable regardless of playing strong or free. 

The cabinet is pretty bare when it comes to safeties that fit the latter criteria. The one safety, Tyvon Branch, appears destined for a very reasonable $6 million (roughly).

Mark Barron is far and away the best safety in this draft class and is capable of stepping in and starting from day one. However, Barron recently had surgery for a double hernia, which could play right into the hands of the Titans's brass.

If Barron is there when the Titans pick, it provides the opportunity for the Titans to both fill position of need and select the best player available.  Barron would absolutely be a perfect fit the Titans, there is no reason they should pass on him when the draft rolls around.